Ivorian Youth Get Ready for Business

Following the official launch of JA programs in Cote d’Ivoire, JA Cote d’Ivoire delivered its first program called “Un weekend pour entreprendre” translated as “A weekend for Entrepreneurship.” With funding from the US Embassy in Cote d’Ivoire and supported by theAndrew Young Center for Entrepreneurship and the Ivory Coast SME agency, the program engaged young people in a weekend-long entrepreneurship boot camp that developed their entrepreneurial and financial literacy skills.

The three-day program took place from 23rd January to 25th January, 2020 at the Andrew Young Center for Entrepreneurship in Abidjan. Selection for the program was very competitive. Over 658 online applications were received, of which 96 successful applicants were selected.

Students engaged in a session facilitated by JA Gabon Program Manager, Verlaine Assoumou

The trainer for the program, Verlaine Assoumou, who is the Director of Programs at JA Gabon, travelled to Ivory Coast to train participants on how to plan their businesses using Business Model Canvas. He explained to them how the model can be used to visualize all the building blocks of a startup enterprise including its customers, route to market, value proposition and finance. Participants also had the opportunity to demonstrate the lessons they learned by pitching their businesses to potential investors. Forty of the 96 participants will receive further training in a 6 month long business incubator which will build their business acumen.

The Executive Director of JA Cote d’Ivoire, Aissata Tounkara, advised the participants to be determined in their entrepreneurial journey. She said, “eentrepreneurship is a noble profession. Not everyone chooses to be an entrepreneur but we arrive there with great self-denial.  As an entrepreneur, you must succeed in convincing others of your vision.”

Entrepreneurship has the ability to improve standards of living and create wealth, not only for the entrepreneurs, but also for their families and communities. In Africa, new data is indicating that young people entering the workforce are most likely to be employed by their peers. Therefore, young entrepreneurs are becoming even greater engines for job creation.

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